Coronavirus News Update – June 19: Biden Says India Variant is ‘Particularly Dangerous’ for Certain Groups

By Anna Breuer on 19 June 2021
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Carnegie Hall in New York City

President Joseph Biden said that the India, or Delta, variant of the coronavirus is of greater concern than previous mutations of the virus.  “The data is clear: If you are unvaccinated, you’re at risk of getting seriously ill or dying or spreading it,” Biden said during a news conference at the White House. He said the variant “will leave unvaccinated people even more vulnerable than they were a month ago.”

The India, or Delta, variant of the coronavirus is quickly becoming dominant in the United States, officials there said. “It’s more transmissible than the Alpha variant, or the UK variant, that we have here,” said Dr. Rochelle Wllensky told ABC News in an interview on Good Morning America Friday.

As of Saturday morning, the world has recorded over 178.7 million Covid-19 cases and has seen 3.87 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, over 163.3 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus.

In the United States, the death toll, which recently crossed the 600,000 mark, is now 616,924.  Since the start of the pandemic the country has recorded over 34.4 million individual cases, a higher figure than any other country and second only to India which has seen 29.9 million cases.

Since the start of vaccinations at the end of last year over 2.54 billion doses have been administered across the globe as of Saturday morning, the equivalent of over 33 doses for every 100 people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Saturday, 176.3 million people in the United States – or 53.1% –have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 44.7%, or 148.5 million people, are fully vaccinated, bringing the total number of doses dispensed in the United States to over 316 million. Breaking this down further, 65.1% of the population over the age of 18 – or 168.2 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 55.4% of the same group – or 143 million people – is fully vaccinated.

Officials in the United Kingdom are reporting that 99% of new coronavirus cases are the India, or Delta, variant. Over 33,000 were identified over the past week, a 79% increase over the prior week. “Cases are rising rapidly across the country and the Delta variant is now dominant,” said Jenny Harries, the UK Health Security Agency’s CEO.

Germany reached a milestone in its vaccination program. As of Friday, more than half of the population is at least partially inoculated.

As of Friday, 50.1% of German residents have had at least one dose, and 29.6% were fully immunized against Covid-19, Health Minister Jens Spahn said at a press briefing in Berlin. Vaccinations are especially important as new strains risk hampering the country’s efforts to contain the disease, he added.

Vienna will celebrate the city’s reopening with a free concert on July 3 at the Wiener Rathausplatz, the area in front of the city hall.  The event will feature a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony performed by the ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien under the baton of Marin Alsop. Other parts of the reopening celebration will include 12 open-air Club Nights, family events, and events just for children.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra announced that it will return to presenting live performances at Symphony Hall for the 2021-2022 season.  Performances have been on hiatus since March 2020 due to pandemic-related restrictions. The season will feature a performance cycle of all five Beethoven piano sonatas, concert performances of Berg’s Wozzeck, and two appearances at Carnegie Hall where the orchestra will perform a program including works by Ives and Berlioz.

In California, officials there unveiled a system that will provide digital Covid-19 vaccination records.Going forward, Californians will be able to access a digital copy of their vaccination record via the My Vaccine Record tool, and officials are cautioning people there not to call it a vaccine passport because the state will not be implementing a mandatory vaccine passport system, it said.

And finally, a Dutch rapper, josylvio, whose real name is Joost Theo Sylvia Yussef Abdegalil Dowib, got what was coming to him from police when he tried to travel travel using a forged Covid-19 PCR certificate.  He was arrested at Curaçao International Airport, where he was refused entry into the country, a former Dutch colony, because his papers were reportedly not in order.  Police reports indicate that the rapper was “very rude” to airport staff after being denied entry.  Police confirmed his arrest and that he is being held pending investigation.  A video on YouTube shows the rapper being slapped by a police officer as part of a struggle.

Paul Riegler contributed reporting to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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